Back in April, Imperial Blue (the 1st VI) travelled to West Kirby, near Liverpool, to compete in the BUSA (BUCS Sailing) Finals 2017. This in itself was a huge achievement for us, a new team with four new ICSC members and a single BUSA campaign between us, culminating in a fantastic sailing season. It took a lot of hard work to get to this point – successfully qualifying after two events in Oxford and Glasgow. This was the first time in four years that any London team has qualified for finals, and this year three teams qualified!
This event included four days of competitive sailing against some of the best university teams in the world and took place during the Easter holidays. This provided a problem for a couple of our team members, with Caroline having to fly from Poland late the night before and Mary dropping out completely due to work issues. Mary’s presence was thoroughly missed by all of us, especially Joe, who had to settle for James as a crew which caused much bickering and mutual blame. We also had a stressful experience when a lorry crashed into our parked car smashing the back window, the second smashed car window we’ve had to deal with in the year, but we cling-filmed it up and let Joe’s Dad’s insurance deal with it.
Nevertheless, we sailed some fantastic races, beating the likes of Glasgow, Warwick and Loughborough, ending on 10 wins out of 23 rounds of races, thus finishing 23rd out of 28 teams from 22 different unis in the closest ever BUSA finals, so close in fact that 2 more wins could have put us into the quarter finals (top 8). We finished with the elation that only 4 days competitive and tiring sailing can give you and sat at the edge of the ‘theatre of dreams’, which is West Kirby marine lake, to watch the finals in which underdogs Essex dispatched Cambridge blue in a 3-1 victory, to leave Cambridge to claim second, third and forth. After the races, we quickly rushed off to our hotel to change into our finest black tie outfits and heavily pre-drink before the infamous BUSA ball.
Although we did not win the competition overall, we did come away from the event feeling like the intellectually superior team, winning the pub quiz in what can only be described as the best teamwork of the week. The quiz included intellectual questions, general knowledge (including a theme tune round on which we received full marks) and a student life round, the pinnacle of which was the naming of all VK flavours, this was where James really came into his own as the sub.
Overall we had yet another successful and amazingly fun event and we can’t wait to start our BUSA campaign next year, even if we’ll end up in Glasgow. Many thanks go to West Kirby Sailing Club and Manchester University Sailing Club for a terrifically well run event, as well as to James for being a last minute replacement. We enjoyed his company, even if he could never replace Mary, Finally thanks to Joe for leading us in the most successful year for Imperial Sailing in recent memory.